How to Design a Tracksuit

Updated April 17, 2017

This exercise staple evolved into a fashionable item when designers started using textured fabrics such as French terry, velour and novelty fleece. Those who are fashion conscious can create one-of-a-kind designs by sketching various silhouettes and including design elements such as shaped or contrast inserts as well as decorative trims. Choose the look you want prior to sketching to make it easier to choose your fabric, trim and other design elements.

Draw a jacket and pant outline for the tracksuit on drawing paper with an F or H pencil for fine lines. Do not add colour, seams, stitching or other design details to the outline sketch.

Make several copies of the outline. Although this is an extra step, by making copies of the outline you can sketch several versions of the tracksuit.

Alter the jacket and pant silhouette by adding different design elements to the sketch. For example, most designers change the jacket silhouette by adding to or cropping the length. The same applies to the tracksuit pant by changing the hip and leg cut. For instance, fashion track trousers fit snugly at the hips with a straight leg cut. Athletic track trousers have more room at the hip, seat and leg to create a loose fit.

Change the shape of the jacket sleeves. For example, if you are creating a trendy jacket, add a puffed sleeve (excess fabric gathered at the sleeve cap) or a dolman-shaped sleeve (sleeves shaped with the front and back panel and avoiding an armhole). For a sporty option, sketch another version with contrasting shoulder and elbow inserts.

Continue to add design elements to the jacket such as attached hood, front patch pockets or kangaroo pockets. Continue to reshape the silhouette of the jacket, making it more contoured for a snug fit or looser for a baggy fit.

Add contrast side leg inserts or zippered side legs on the trousers. For another alternative, increase the width of the leg cuff for a retro flared look.

Add other elements to the sketches such as heat-seal patches, rhinestones, studs, drawstrings or decorative braid. If your jacket includes lining, select a complementary bold print. Include other trims such as striped sleeve cuffs and waistbands, referred to as yarn-dye welts. You can also make the welt as a waistband for the pant.

Colour in the sketches with coloured pencils or markers, referring to the preselected fabric. Coloured sketches act as pattern-making and sewing guides. Most designers staple fabric and trim swatches to the sketch to guide sample makers during construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Jacket and pant outline
  • F or H pencil
  • Drawing paper
  • Outline copies
  • Coloured pencils
  • Markers
  • Swatches
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About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.